Centre ‘cuts A&E patients’

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The opening of a GP walk-in centre in Sheffield could have reduced daytime attendances for minor ailments at A&E by more than a quarter, according to researchers.

Academics from Sheffield University’s School of Health and Related Research conducted a survey of patients at the walk-in centre, on Broad Lane, which pointed to a 26 per cent fall in the number of people visiting the Northern General’s emergency ward.

There was also a seven per cent reduction at Sheffield Children’s Hospital’s A&E department after the centre opened.

More than 500 patients were polled over three weeks during September and October 2011, and 14 per cent said they were diverted from going to A&E because the GP facility was available.

Lead author Dr Mubashir Arain, a postgraduate research student, said: “This reduction was not mirrored in changes in night-time attendances, when the centre was closed - it is possible the opening of the walk-in centre caused this reduction.”

The study was published this month in the Emergency Medicine Journal.